Published on August 23, 2016
By Caribbean News Now contributor
MADRID, Spain -- In a press statement on Saturday, the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George, a Catholic institution based in Spain, disowned what it described as the purported exchanges of decorations between the Constantinian Order and certain Caribbean states, which have been extensively reported in recent weeks by Caribbean News Nowand Britain’s Mail on Sunday newspaper.
The Order’s grand chancellor also disavowed any links with British public relations consultant Anthony Bailey and his “dear friend” Baroness Patricia Scotland, the Commonwealth secretary general.
Scotland has been accused of trying to win support from Commonwealth heads of government during her campaign for the post of secretary general with offers of bogus honours and charitable donations from the Constantinian Order, of which she was purportedly a prominent member.
Those honoured included the prime minister and president of Dominica, who later officially nominated Scotland as their country's candidate for the top Commonwealth post, despite the fact she has not lived there since she was two years old.
“Three articles published in The Mail on Sunday and other online journals have commented on the purported exchanges of decorations between the Constantinian Order and certain Caribbean states. These articles have also referred to Sir /Mr Anthony Bailey, OBE, as having ‘revived’ the Order in the UK, as being the Order’s delegate and as having been responsible for these exchanges. The grand chancery of the Order wishes to make it clear that the Order has never exchanged decorations with any state, that Sir / Mr Anthony Bailey is not now, nor has ever been an officer of the Order or a member thereof, and nor has Baroness Scotland, also referred to in these articles,” the Order said in its statement.
The Order purportedly revived in the UK by Bailey is described on its website as the “Delegation for Great Britain and Ireland”; however, in a follow up email, Guy Stair Sainty, vice-grand chancellor of the Order, said it has no connection with Bailey, his business activities or the order of which he is described as "delegate".
Sainty explained that the Constantinian Order concentrates primarily on its Catholic mission and never "exchanges" it's membership with anyone for any reason, since the would be contrary to the statutes and character of the Order as a Catholic, chivalric, confraternal institution.
“Neither are we interested in expensive entertainments nor in constant publicity, which is why we have not issued any public statement until now, when the good name of our Order has repeatedly been the subject of so much critical commentary,” he added.
Sainty went on to note that the grant of awards for "’interfaith’ services or whatever” to the likes of President Assad of Syria and former President Saleh of Yemen and various state officials in other countries, including the Caribbean, has no worth.
“The self-evident conflict of interest between Mr Bailey's role as a businessman apparently acting on behalf of states for fees, yet exchanging decorations of this controversial Constantinian Order … and then claiming awards in return would appear to be entirely contrary to the spirit of this ancient Catholic institution,” he said.
Following allegations that Bailey used promises of donations and unofficial Constantinian Order honours to obtain a knighthood in Antigua and Barbuda, Prime Minister Gaston Browne has indicated that the knighthood awarded to Bailey is now under “review”. Two of Bailey’s friends who were knighted with him in Antigua have already had their honours revoked pending an investigation.
Browne said that all three knighthoods had been arranged prior to his Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) coming to power in June 2014.
“By the time we came to office, this was a fait accompli and we honoured the arrangements without any knowledge of the prior discussions,” he said.
Browne is understood to have referred the matter to the local Honours Committee but the governor general, Sir Rodney Williams, who chairs the committee, asked that the review be deferred and, some three months later, little or no action appears to have been taken.
Williams is said to have been the beneficiary of “wining and dining” in London and a paid trip to Rome in November last year to meet the pope at the expense of the Constantinian Order “delegation” and/or Bailey. Williams is married to Sandra Scotland-Williams, a cousin of Baroness Scotland.
Sainty said that the information regarding the status of the Constantinian Order was sent to the governor-general of Antigua and Barbuda on July 11, 2016, to assist him in his review of the awards.
Meanwhile, after allegations surfaced that Bailey also obtained a knighthood from Grenada in similar circumstances, The Mail on Sunday reported over the weekend that this honour is to be rescinded after questions of its legality were raised.
Bailey had reportedly arranged four knighthoods for himself and his cronies in one day from the country, despite only two being allowed per year by law.
Following a cabinet meeting last Tuesday, Grenadian foreign minister Nickolas Steele announced that the award had been rescinded following “legal evaluation and interpretation”.
Bailey was given the knighthood last year, apparently in exchange for promised donations and reciprocal honours from his unrecognised “delegation” of the Constantinian Order.
This award followed meetings between Bailey, Baroness Scotland and the prime minister of Grenada, Dr Keith Mitchell, during which investment on the island was promised.